Playing the Game

Some glitches in America's education.

America’s education is based on a market-logic with many glitches. An “input-output” relationship that focuses on student’s accountability for colleges; representing and advertising the college with the student’s degree. This puts heavy emphasis on curriculum standards (Common Core) which utilizes Standardized Testing (STAAR, AP, SAT, ACT, etc.). Through this education based on standards, equality is created as every student is pushed towards college despite that path not being appropriate for everyone. Meanwhile, this equality is broken due to competition amongst students to meet these standards (GPA via Regular or Honors).

This standardized education creates two forms of sub-economies in America; traditional and command. The relationship between colleges and high schools follows a traditional economy in which the system is based off of habits and customs, regarding a student’s legacy and top class ranking percentiles (Top 30% to 7%) who goes towards Ivy league/high tier universities. This creates a sense of certainty at where a student belongs as lower tier universities, community colleges, trade schools, the workforce and the military aims for lower ranking students. This makes for a self-sufficient system that has a lack of progress due to a standard of learning as well as a discouragement for new ideas as the majority of students after high school will believe they’re not smart enough.

As for the second sub-economy, which is found within the high schools themselves; this one follows a command economy where the authority is centralized with teachers expected to follow the decisions made at the top (College Board). This allows for drastic changes in short amounts of time (GPA weight, TAKS to STAAR, etc.) while not meeting the needs and wants of individuals and causing excess labor to raise that GPA (thus the, “GPA Games”) amongst stifling students with unique ideas as the system is not flexible and lacks incentives for extracurricular activity outside scholarships that barely dents student debt.

Apart from the already present problems of these economic systems in an unequal yet standardized education, the GPA shows convincing evidence of disapproval and overly complicated (3 pages to explain). GPA is an average of grade points a student earned in a certain amount of time. The problem here is that with the standardized curriculum, students are set up for expectations that some may not be able to meet due to different pacing and/or different strengths. Therefore skewing GPAs towards students who both holds a higher IQ and excels in the more GPA weighted courses (Liberal Arts education).

Standardized testing has it’s own set of problems aside from test anxiety. When regarding AP classes, which are based around the year’s end AP standardized test, students must consume a certain amount of textbook knowledge paired with written application. Unfortunately, students tend to memorize and forget when working for high school credit and do not fully explore and understand the chapter as they must move on in order to consume enough information for a high enough AP grade for college credit.

Standardized testing has been in America since the 1800s with standardized education starting only in the 1980s. Despite being ranked 14th in Education, 2nd in Ignorance, 24th in Literacy, 17th in Educational Performance, 11th in Fourth Grade Math and 6th in Fourth Grade Reading; despite all the criticisms from Prince EA, Joshua Katz, Will Richardson, Scott Loony, and many more well more educated opinions; America struggles to change. Apart from the unfair prioritization of classes over others (such as math and science over art and history), even an AP Macroeconomics textbook points out major glitches in the market-logic America holds for education.

When playing the tricky game that is America’s education, it gets difficult strategizing for the best GPA and the best class ranking. Why stress so much for a grade reward, that lands a student in a college setting with students who received the same grade reward. How does that make any of them stand out? This is where the experience rewarding CEC comes into play, allowing students to follow their interests and thus balance the feud between Liberal Arts and Vocational education. But there’s a third form of economy and more glitches to patch, let’s mod the game.

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Followup Story: Modding the Game